Bolivia

 

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Bolivia is known as the 'Tibet of the Americas', the highest and most remote of the countries in South America. It is a landlocked region with two Andean mountain ranges binding the Altiplano, or High Plain, between them. The history of the region dates back to the pre-Columbian times, from the ancient Aymará civilisation in 1,500 BC who lived on Lake Titicaca, to the Tiahuanaco and the Inca Empire of the Altiplano, until the conquest of the Spanish in 1538. Reminders of these civilisations is evident in the architecture of the colonial cities, displayed in informative museums that can be visited at the sites of ancient ruins. It is one of South America's more intriguing countries, as one with the most indigenous population on the continent, the majority of whom still maintain their firmly established culture and beliefs. This living historical culture is one of the reasons that Bolivia is such an exciting tourist destination. Travellers will encounter shy people in traditional clothing, colourfully dressed and red-cheeked from the mountain air. The landscape is imbued with traditional houses and visitors will find remarkable traditions kept alive in the ancient techniques of weaving, handcraft and food production. The sounds of this cultural legacy echo in the haunting melodies of the panpipes from the high Altiplano or in the lively tunes emanating from the warmer lowlands. The dramatic geography affords many adventure opportunities: explorers can track wildlife in the Amazonian basin, drive across the surreal landscape of the Salar de Uyuni, take a boat trip on the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca, scramble through muddy shafts in the silver mines of Potosi, or hike in the magnificent Andes mountains. There is enough diversity to meet many tastes. The country is a juxtaposition of extraordinary altitudes and spectacular landscapes, fascinating remains of ancient civilisations, a rich indigenous culture and vast colonial treasures.